by George Anastasopoulos
Why do horses used for pulling wagons wear blinders?
Blinders are firm squares or cups that prevent a horse from seeing behind and beside him. Blinders prevent the horse from becoming distracted or panicked by what they may see.
Makes sense given the horse’s job: transportation and the comfort and security of carriage contents and passengers. But what about the horse? Its normal vision is nearly 360 degrees, which is pretty remarkable, but with the blinders that’s reduced to a tiny 30 degrees directly in front. All because we’ve given the horse a job we want done. And being a social and loving creature, the horse doesn’t complain much.
What’s that got to do with you and your work as a pharmacist, manager and/or owner you ask? Focus! A familiar word in our world of work. Focus is described as the act of concentrating interest or activity on something. That’s well and good, but there’s a price to pay for focus, and that price is sacrifice. We must be willing to sacrifice what we’re likely to notice beside, behind, above or below us. Here’s today’s distinction…
Managers wear blinders and focus on where they’re going
Leaders are curious and notice what’s going on
To be clear I’m not advocating you trash the blinders. But I am insisting you stop being the horse, blindly (pardon the pun) doing the job or insisting others focus and just do the job.
Unlike the horse, you have a choice and the ability to remove the blinders anytime. And here’s a simple way to shift your approach so you do less, accomplish more and make a difference.
- Choose one typical day. Pay attention to and record in your journal when you’re either focused (on a task or activity, alone with others) and where you are curious and attentive (to what’s going on with you, in your work, and around you). This will likely produce a list of instances during your day where you’ve experienced (hopefully) at least a few of each.
- At the end of your day review your journal notes. What are your reactions to what you’ve listed? What are you taking away from what you’re seeing?
- For each FOCUS instance, list a few benefits you experienced by being focused, and identify what you might have missed because you weren’t CURIOUS. Repeat this step with the CURIOUS instances listing a few benefits because you were curious, and what didn’t work because you didn’t FOCUS.
- Review and reflect on your benefits and misses from step 3. Then, commit to doing 1 to 3 things differently.
- For the next full week, do what you commit to doing differently, pay attention and journal when you do what you’ve committed to doing, and the impact.
Do your homework with all of the points above and after one week I guarantee you’ll be experiencing a difference.
When that happens, reach out to me and tell me about it so we can publish and share your winning practices to benefit your colleagues in the pharmacy profession.
If it doesn’t, reach out to me and in a half hour I’ll coach you to make sure it does.
Read the rest of the leadership series: